Tuesday, August 2, 2011

SHRM Session: "Talent-Based Interviews"

I hoped to learn some new ideas for performing interviews at the SHRM Conference. With that idea in mind I attended Jay Forte's session, “So, Tell Me About a Time When...: Use Talent-Based Interviews to Hire the Right Employees”.

The session began with two photos being shown of an attractive man and woman. Forte asked, “Who do you hire?” and I thought to myself whether we were hiring models or not. Forte explained that talent-based interviews are based on how people think, respond, add value, and make a difference within an organization.

GPS was used as an analogy of the “route to profitability”. The route begins with culture, ends with customer loyalty, and employee engagement sits in the middle. I felt that this GPS analogy had more to it but we would be focusing solely on employee engagement. The analogy probably came from his new book that he kept mentioning. In case you are wondering, here it is:

Sixty-five percent of employees are only doing enough to get by. Only 18% are fully engaged. For employees to perform at their full capability, then they must enjoy the work and be good at it. Forte focuses on talents because he believes people don’t really change beyond their youth and most of their brain has developed at a young age. I disagree with both parts because I know that personality tests can vary quite a bit until around middle-age. Also, the brain continues to make changes through-out a person's life and people’s behaviors and talents do change over the years.

The goal of talent-based interviews is to seek out the decisions we make within three seconds. There are 20,000 decisions that people make within 3 seconds. When interviewing someone, we want their immediate reaction because that is reflective of how they will react at work.

The creation of the interview questions is based on the DiSC assessment. Fortunately, I'm familiar with this type of assessment because there was very little explanation given. According to discprofile.com, it is used to show personality and behaviors in 4 categories: dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness.

Forte went on to explain that a line is drawn across two of the categories that are central to the particular position. The example given was a crew chief that needs to be a leader, driver, bottom-liner, and solver. They went across D and C.
Forte's DiSC from his SHRM powerpoint slides
A “talent matrix” is used to prepare the questions. The goal is to find whether the candidate has the required talents, skills, and experience. My first impression was that the DiSC method is used alone to create the interview questions, however, the matrix showed that skills and experience are also used.

The purpose isn't just to use one particular list of questions but to create a dialogue. I felt this would make it hard to compare the interviews between candidates. However, Forte said that the questions can be the same but are customized by layering them differently. In other words, change the order of questions based on where the interviewee goes with their answer.

I also felt that the use of the word “talent” was misleading since they seemed to be behaviors. Using necessary behaviors to create interview questions is an effective method that is often used. I learned about DiSC in college and was interested in seeing how it can be applied to creating interview questions. One of the flaws is that the interviewer needs to understand how to use DiSC and training would need to be provided to use it accurately. When I completed the DiSC assessment, I was strong in three categories and I wonder if Forte’s method leaves room for people similar to me.

SHRM Session: "How to Hunt like a Headhunter"

One of my first sessions at the SHRM Conference was called “How to Hunt Like a Headhunter for the Global Talent You Wish You Had”. My first position out of college is in recruiting and I thought the session would give me some new ideas that I could use. The speakers were introduced as Jim Dyak, founder of Human Resource Dimensions (a consultanting company), and Jennifer Brock, the Manager of Executive Searches. As I walked in they handed me a poker chip with their company info on it:

The session was a casual discussion that jumped between the two of them. They began by discussing the difference between headhunters and corporate recruiting. Headhunters consider recruiting to be a profit center, while corporate recruiting is considered a cost center. My position at work is closer to a headhunter and hearing about how they are viewed was interesting to me. I hadn’t considered how differently recruiting is done when it is corporate recruiting. I've only thought about the similarities.

Successful recruiters are the same in both circumstances. They listen to the candidate and get to know them.  A recruiter has to be proactive and not reactive. They develop their network because most candidates are found through networking.

There is a variety of technology available for recruiters but getting on the phone is the most effective method. However, more than one method should be used to reach candidates. A process needs to be created for searches and should be repeatable. Metrics should be used to measure the effectiveness of recruiting methods.

They mentioned a few ideas that I never considered. Jennifer mentioned using social media to find who is passionate about their career. Candidates can be sent texts to stay connected. Headhunters get a bad reputation for not engaging clients and that should be avoided. This is something I dislike about recruiting and I am glad they pointed it out. I prefer creating a relationship with each candidate. Simply asking, “is it a good time to talk?” helps create a rapport with each candidate. This simple question is one that shows the recruiter is considering the candidate’s needs.

The last portion of the session was on international recruiting. A recruiter needs to have an understanding of the culture. We cannot assume that other countries are similar to the United States. I think a lot of Americans forget to consider the differences... along with some other non-Americans. Creating alliances with the top colleges would allow access to entry-level talent. A list of top colleges was provided on their company's website. A method of searching nationally and internationally is to seek out information on who received rewards in the industry. They mentioned “glocal” which means to consider things on a global scale while acting locally.

They gave me some ideas and methods that I will be able to use. I intend to use their social media tips and research awards. I was surprised how informal the session was but this made the audience more comfortable asking questions.